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Bioshock - Rapture

The Hunger Games: A speculated History of Panem

Posted on 2012.03.23 at 23:13
Mental Status: exhaustedexhausted
Tags: , , ,
President Obama updated the “Defense of Production Act of 1950” this past week. In that document lies the creation of The Hunger Games. It has been around for over 60 years, amended by all of the Presidents. It is the law of the land and one that would strike fear into people if they thought it would be a likely scenario.

Back during the Cold War, it was determined that a Nuclear War would not kill all people, just most people. The Federal government and civilization in general would be at risk of total collapse. Faced with such horrific threats, the government would be able to press people into service to maintain key industries. You could be drafted to mine coal, farm a land, produce machinery, the people pressed into service would effectively be slave labor. The government could do whatever they wanted to you and why not? What they do might mean the preservation of the species. The death of one obstinate worker is not worth worrying about compared to the death of all humanity. A ruthless, but reasonable person could see that this is necessary. The only problem is, there is no mechanism to turn it off.

The United States has been concerned with doomsday scenarios since the end of World War II. The priorities have always been the same: preserve the best and brightest of society, the scientists, key skilled workers, members of the military and of course, the political leadership. These would be the people that would rebuild society. They would be equipped with every advantage to survive in the new hostile world. Advances in genetic engineering may not create a better human, but it should create better animals and plants that will allow the survivors of the holocaust to adapt. The resources to expand and resettle will be found by “restarting” key industries with the survivors that they find. As harsh as the life would be under the supervision of the Capitol and the protection of the “peacekeepers”, it would be preferable to the chaos of disorganized survivors preying on one another for scraps to live. And most of all, the people working in these industrial districts would be building a future. The materials they harvested, the equipment that they built would go on to restart civilization. Skills and knowledge would not go quietly into the night of a new Dark Age, all of them would be part of this rebirth of human civilization.

But as I said, there is no means to turn things off. If the President of the United States went into a bunker today to survive a catastrophe, would he call an election once his term was up? If after setting up the districts and forcing people to work in them, would he allow them to vote him out of office? There would be no more elections. A state of emergency would exist as long as he and his successors would live. The order of succession is a clearly marked one in our Constitution with different offices replacing one another in time of vacancies. The lower offices would be filled by appointment at times of opportunity, but the Presidency would be a lifetime proposition, one that he or she would choose their successor (someone like minded probably). Autocracy breeds corruption. Even if a wise leader assumes the office, a self serving corrupt one is waiting in the wings and power is always abused.

At some point, the bunker which included the highest elite of the United States will emerge and set up the districts in order to survive. The bunker would become the new Capitol of the country of Panem. The people of the Capitol would see themselves as the last bulwark of civilization. They start to name their children after ancient figures of Rome and Greece. They see in their children titans that will tame a world and bring back what their ancestors have built. But time would pass and the issue would not be survival or exploration, it would be comfort. The capitol would be autocratic, but the best of everything would be found there. The best food, the best healthcare, the best entertainment, the best looking people, dissent would be harshly and publicly treated, but what dissent would there be when people are living in paradise? A place where they live for their own pleasure and vanity at all time.

The conditions of the districts are another matter. The transfer of peacekeepers and the materials produced by the different districts would mean that even though the people working these districts would remain in their locations, the excesses of the capitol would become known. And with their meager harsh conditions, the slaves of these districts would rise up. It is easy to suffer if you think it is for a higher goal, it is another matter to suffer so someone can live well while you starve. The districts rose up and were able to beat back the peacekeepers to the mountains that held the Capitol. The districts were doomed to lose as the Capitol was protected, had time on its side and the technological power to put them in line.

The one rebellion of note was 74 years before Katniss and Peeta entered into the games. The Capitol had message one clear message after defeating the districts, a message that would be repeated every year afterwards “You will suffer for going against us”. And suffer some do, more than just the tribute of giving one boy and a girl each year for the games. In this the leaders of the capitol are like their roman namesakes more than any other way.

Whatever happened to cause the catastrophe in the world is over. The land healed, the earth is good and generous. It did not have to go the way it has, but if there is one thing for certain in the 5000 years of human history, those who gain power are terrified of losing it…. And many will do anything to retain it. Desperate means for desperate times may be necessary, but there has to be a way to turn it off, or there will be those that will attempt to do it for them.

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